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Use data to prioritise your digital transformation not guesswork

Like it or not, every business must choose to embrace technology. A large proportion of the population are digital natives, and that proportion is only going to increase over time. Your competitors are improving the customer and employee experience through better, smarter, digitally-enabled tools. The question for business leaders is no longer IF they should embark on a digital transformation it’s HOW.  

This article isn’t about what digital transformation is, or convincing you it’s necessary. If I need to do that... Well, frankly I can’t help you. 

And so, the point: Prioritisation. 

Instead, this article is about how to handle the inevitable challenge of competing priorities. Even if you have a list of things you want your digital transformation to achieve (and that’s hard enough) a typical topic of disagreement and debate is the priority around which projects are most important at any point in time. Of course, everyone wants to solve all of the problems and make more money, but which of the issues is most important right now? How can we prioritise the problems as well as their respective solutions? 

Surprise: It's data. 

A 2020 poll from Forrester found that less than 50% of firms based their decision-making upon quantitative information, instead of relying on gut feel, experience, or opinion. Whilst those things are still valuable, businesses in a digital age (that’s all of you reading this) can add data-driven insight to the mix.   

But I hear you cry, I don’t have the data. I’m here to tell you, folks, you do, you just don’t prioritise collecting and analysing it. 

So what is the first step on any digital transformation journey? Prioritise collecting useful data. Then use that data to tell you what step 2, 3 and N should be. 

For the sake of demonstrating that this concept applies to every business across all industries, let's imagine a company that might not be the first you’d think of when it comes to technology - an adult social care provider.

John, the company director, has plans to open 10 new offices in the next 6 months. He knows that his recruitment processes are manual and somewhat slow and that he gets a lot of complaints from staff about a legacy system for scheduling care workers. He knows he’s going to need to recruit lots of people so wants to implement systems to automate as much of this as possible. He also knows that the demands on the scheduling system will be increased, and that might affect the organisation's ability to deliver services. But which is the priority?

The answer all depends on the data. The priority for John shouldn’t be either of these projects. His priority should be understanding which will have the biggest impact on the scalability of his business.

Digital transformation is a journey- you can stop at any point and change your direction, and that is the beauty of it. There is also nothing wrong with having a long list of projects. However, you must make it a priority to properly prioritise using data.